Abit KV8 PRO: Features and Layout


 Motherboard Specifications
CPU Interface Socket 754 Athlon 64
Chipset VIA K8T800 PRO/VT8237
Bus Speeds 200MHz to 300MHz (in 1MHz increments)
PCI/AGP Speeds CPU:AGP:PCI - Fixed, 6:2:1, 7:2:1, 8:2:1
HyperTransport Auto, 200MHz to 1GHz (1x-5x)
Core Voltage 1.50V to 1.85V in 0.025V increments
DRAM Voltage 2.50V to 2.8V in 0.05V increments
(to 3.2V in uGuru)
AGP Voltage 1.50V-1.65V in 0.05V increments
NB (Northbridge) Voltage 1.50V-1.65V in 0.05V increments
SB (Southbridge) Voltage 2.50V-2.65V in 0.05V increments
HT (HyperTransport) Voltage 1.20V-1.40V in 0.05V increments
Memory Slots Two 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Unbuffered Memory to 2GB Total
Expansion Slots 1 AGP 8X Slot
5 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA/IDE RAID 2 SATA drives by VIA VT8237
Can be combined in RAID 0, 1, JBOD
Onboard IDE Two Standard VIA ATA133/100/66 (4 drives)
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports supported by VIA VT8237
No FireWire
Onboard LAN Gigabit Ethernet by VIA VT6122 PCI
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC658
6-Channel with SPDIF

The KV8 PRO is a bit smaller than standard ATX and appears to have been designed with the future in mind, where Socket 754 will become the value board for Athlon 64. However, all of the best top-end features are here except Firewire, which can be added with a PCI card if it is an important feature to you. You also will not find any additional RAID controllers on-board, though the VIA SATA RAID in the VT8237 Southbridge is fully supported.

The overclocking controls are typical of Abit in that they are a wonderful selection of voltages and frequencies to get the most from the K8T800 PRO and the Athlon 64. Particularly notable are the voltage adjustments for the Northbridge, Southbridge, and chipset - in addition to the expected voltage adjustments. While memory voltage is a somewhat limited 2.8V in BIOS, adjustments can be made to a very healthy 3.2V in the uGuru utility. We first tested uGuru in our review of the Abit KV8 Max3, and it continues to evolve as a very useful tool for the overclocker.



Our first Abit KV8 PRO did not have a working PCI/AGP lock. However, Abit quickly supplied a revised KV8 PRO that definitely does have a working PCI/AGP lock. We tested the revised KV8 Pro with PCI Geiger and the lock is definitely working on the revised KV8 PRO. However, there were no ratio adjustments at all in the Abit BIOS, an amazing oversight from a company that caters to the overclocker. The KV8 PRO also had the strange behavior of booting at a 9X ratio, when our 3200+ is a 10X ratio processor. Abit Engineers are aware of these issues and assure us that they will definitely be fixed on shipping boards.

The Abit KV8 PRO actually runs at 204FSB when the frequency is set to 200. Fortunately, Abit shows this modest overclock in uGuru and we were able to adjust the FSB to 200 for testing.

The Abit KV8 PRO has tremendous potential, but it is plagued with annoying BIOS problems. When these are ironed out, it will likely be one of the top Socket 754 boards, but these issues prevented a real test of the capabilities of the KV8 PRO.

Index Abit KV8 PRO: Overclocking and Stress Testing
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  • karlreading - Monday, August 30, 2004 - link

    i braught the chaintech vnf3-250 based on the review it recieved at AT and TBPH its a cracking motherboard, plus it easily gets my 2ghz a64-3200+ to 2.4 ghz and lets you run 1ghz HT if u running the cpu stock, something whic supposidly only the nf3 ultra let u do.all in all a very fast, very reliable, very overclockerbul motherboard which i have NMO regrets about buying :) Reply
  • lem79 - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    I have the Epox 8KDA3+ here with an Athlon64 2800+, runs nice, except for one quirk, which Anandtech failed to mention here (they probably didn't even know)..

    Cool'n'Quiet only works on this board when _one_ DIMM slot is in use (that is, DIMM1). If there's RAM in DIMM2 and DIMM3 slots, Cool'n'Quiet gets disabled by the BIOS (July revision, earlier BIOS images leave it enabled, but Cool'n'Quiet activation causes system instability and lockups). Epox themselves told me that this was the case.

    I think the review needs updating..
    Reply
  • operator - Sunday, June 06, 2004 - link

    I have the same question as #25. with a small addition.

    when will the msi k8n or the epox board be available in Canada?
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    This is a very good review Wesley, thanks. I really like how you went into detail with memory and boards FSB capabilites for the clockers out here.:) Looks like the Chaintech is the board for me. Cheap and a real performer. It's really to bad nVidia failed to have a decent sound solution though. Reply
  • Sk0t - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Nice review.... BUT Im unable to understand why the Epox 8KDA3+ was awarded gold, and MSI K8n Neo Platinum only awarded silver ?

    Epox pros over MSI:
    6th pci-slot
    Slightly better overclocking

    MSI pros over Epox:
    Firewire
    3 working dimm sockets (at 400mhz)
    Slightly better layout (dimm-sockets)
    Supports Cool&Quiet*

    *Since the review seems to completly ignore cool&quiet (unless i missed it?) I will stick to my current rule of thumb, that only Asus & MSI fully supports this feature

    Did I miss some wonderfull feature on the Epox ? or was slightly better overclocking considered more important than features & layout ?
    Reply
  • gmenfan - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Does anyone know when the MSI K8N Neo will be available? Thanks. Reply
  • mbf - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Nice review! I just have one question; how can there be boards *without* ECC support, when the A64 has the memory controller on-die and it *inherently* supports unbuffered ECC memory? I'm especially thinking of the Epox and MSI boards, since they interest me the most (hardware firewall et al).

    Actually, I wrote to MSI (US) about this and was told that indeed ECC is supported and the "non-ECC" statement on the product spec page was erroneous. The page was immediately updated (http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?mode... However, only the US site has been updated, and neither the manual (PDF) nor the BIOS available from the MSI Taiwan site state ECC support. Neither do the manual or BIOS for the Epox board.

    As ECC support is pretty important to me having had some bitter experiences with regular memory, I was wondering if some kind person at Anandtech might be persuaded to throw in a stick of unbuffered ECC memory into either the K8N Neo or the Epox 8KDA3 and let me know if the memory is detected as such? I'd really appreciate the effort!

    I know the ASUS K8N-E Deluxe (http://www.asus.com.tw/products/mb/socket754/k8n-e... states ECC support, but it's anyone's guess when that board will be out, since they cannot even make their mind up if the board is to be shown on their home page or not (right now it is, tomorrow it may not).
    Reply
  • l3ored - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    price is mentioned as a component in electing the epox as the gold winner, so whats the current street price? Reply
  • SilverRyu - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    Do you think shuttle will make a 250Gb or K8T800Pro XPC? Reply
  • cnq - Monday, May 31, 2004 - link

    Wesley,

    Nice writeup...
    A question about overclocking: you tested at 1:1 ratios, meaning you didn't really find the bounds of the FSB/HTT so much as you found the bounds of the PC4400 RAM that you used. If you had dropped the RAM ratio, do you have any indication which boards could have topped 300 MHz? I am of course thinking of your great AK89 Max review from a few weeks back, where you made waves by showing FSB/HTT speeds of 347 MHz. Will you have time to do similar tests on these new boards? (Or, for that matter, can I ask why you didn't do similar tests on these new boards? Is it merely because ClockGen hasn't yet been ported to NF250?)

    I'd also like to second the suggestion made by posting #1 (he mentions aceshardware.com. techreport.com has also chimed in with recent articles on the subject. Not surprisingly, their conclusion is to just avoid cheap Realtek products if you want good CPU utilization. And sudhian.com found great ethernet performance with low CPU overhead from the NF250-GB chip's embedded controller.)
    Reply

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